May 9, 2014

There's never a bad time to punish good teachers for daring to teach. This week's PTA-designated Teacher Appreciation Week seemed like an excellent time for conservatives and conservative media to trash them wherever possible.


On Fox News' Outnumbered the same day, Fox host Tucker Carlson responded to a story about a female teacher who supposedly gave a "lapdance" to a male student, claiming that men understand that getting sexually harassed by a female teacher is the "greatest thing that ever happened." When co-host Harris Faulkner read a viewer comment that "Whether this woman is hot, of course, is still out," Carlson responded, "She's hot enough." On April 28, Carlson told America to "lighten up" on the issue.

On May 6, Fox & Friends took to calling a Florida public school teacher a "Bible Bully" because a fifth-grade boy at a Broward County school claimed his Bible was taken away during free-reading time. Despite a statement from the county affirming its commitment to students' religious freedom and local reporting that the student was reading his Bible during a "classroom 'accelerated reading' program," Fox hosts nonetheless accused the teacher of being a "Bible Bully" and "humiliat[ing]" the student.

Fox & Friends even hosted Fox radio host Todd Starnes later in the program to discuss the Florida story, who made multiple outlandish claims about teachers.

The Starnes video is at the top. These attacks on teachers are proxy attacks on public education. The whole religious freedom meme is one dreamed up to "take back education" and put it in the church where it belongs. Oh, and if they happen to break teacher unions in the process, that's just fine with them.

Of course, teacher-bashing rhetoric is nothing new when it comes to conservative media. Limbaugh previously claimed that the idea that teachers contribute to a growing economy is "ignorance." Fox News earlier this year devoted several segments to bashing teachers and teachers unions in a debate over public school space in New York City. And just a few weeks ago, Breitbart Texas launched a transphobic attack on a substitute teacher in Texas who was suspended because of her gender identity, attempting to portray her as mentally disturbed and suggesting that a divorce was what prompted her to become transgender.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week, all you hard-working teachers! Conservatives want you to know they would be perfectly happy to take your job, your dignity and your reputation away from you in the name of Jesus. Or union-busting. Or something.

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